National recognition for ‘Normal’ essays and stories

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National recognition for ‘Normal’ essays and stories

Fresno State’s nationally distributed literary magazine, The Normal School, had 11 essays and stories mentioned in the newest editions of the Best American series, published annually by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Founded in 2008, The Normal School is staffed by graduate students in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing. Professor Steven Church, one of the magazine’s founding editors, said it’s a big honor to be included in the series, which celebrates the nation’s best new literature of the previous year.

“To have 11 essays and stories honored from our pages is unprecedented for us, and it means more national exposure for the magazine as well as more high-quality submissions,” Church said.

Novelist Kyle Minor’s short story “A Kidnapping in Koulèv-Ville” from the spring 2014 issue of The Normal School was selected for inclusion in Best American Mystery Stories 2015.

Earning “Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2014” recognition in Best American Essays 2015 were:

  • Robert Boyers, “My Pleasure, My Pleasure” (spring 2014)
  • Silas Hansen, “An Annotated Guide to My OKCupid Profile” (spring 2014)
  • Jon Kerstetter, “Learning to Breathe” (fall 2014)
  • E.J. Levy, “Bread” (spring 2014)
  • Bethany Maile, “Anything Will Be Easy After This” (fall 2014)
  • John Proctor, “The Question of Influence” (fall 2014)
  • Steven Schwartz, “Principal’s Office” (fall 2014)
  • Matthew Vollmer, “Music of the Spheres: A Meditation on NASA’s Symphonies of the Planets” (spring 2014)

Earning “Distinguished Stories of 2014” recognition in Best American Short Stories 2015 were:

  • Aamina Ahmad, “Punjab: The Land of Five Rivers” (spring 2014)
  • Corinna Vallianatos, “A Neighboring State” (spring 2014)

The Creative Writing Program also had nonfiction works by two faculty and two alumni recognized as “notable” in Best American Essays 2015.

Church, who serves as the James and Coke Hallowell Professor of Creative Writing, had his essay “Crown and Shoulder” from Passages North (winter, No. 35) noted, and professor John Hales had his essay “Seeing, and Believing” from Hudson Review (winter) noted.

Both former staff for The Normal School, alumna Brigitte Bowers had her essay “Attempted Homicide” from Under the Gum Tree (October) noted, and alumna Sarah Fawn Montgomery had her essay “Syndicated Silence” from Southeast Review (Vol. 32, No. 1) noted.

The Best American series books will be published Oct. 6. The Normal School is supported by the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State. Visit The Normal School online to subscribe.